Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Anybody who knows me, knows I love celebrating birthdays, especially my own.  My family always made a big deal out of birthdays and loved surprises so much they changed party dates to surprise us.  

In fact, last fall my Dad mentioned wanting to come visit us this summer for my birthday. As time went on I realized we needed to change his intended visit to a more convenient time in August as I was going with a girl friend on a trip in July. (More on that at another time.) Anyhow, when I told my Dad July wasn't going to work out. He said, "I was going to 'surprise' you for your birthday." Someone had forgotten he had told me. "Well," I replied, "That would be quite a surprise since I wouldn't be here." We both had a chuckle.

Yet, a birthday surprise was on me today in May as my students planned a birthday celebration for both the the other teacher, Joan, and myself since this was our last day of classes before summer break. 

They had ordered a beautiful cake and decorated the walls with balloons and a birthday banner. How sweet!

Our class had prepared delicious Tostadas de Pollo and special Hibiscus Ponche.

We were even given a birthday hat to take turns wearing.

Everybody sang Happy Birthday Mexican style. 'Las Mañanitas' never sounded better. We didn't even care our ages were reversed with the candles on the cake!

What a great way to spend our last class together! It was a wonderful surprise Birthday Party.

Joan and I both had a terrific time and to all the kids and students we say "Muchísimas gracias."

Past links RE: Centro Latino




Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Our violets opened up just in time
for the holiday
 The very mention of Memorial Day conjures up time outside in the garden, parades, flags, music, cemeteries and food, right?

Ours included all of the above. We arrived a bit late to our local parade but we were able to catch the end.

 It's a small parade but we made it in time to see the bubbles... 

 the big boy toys donned with flags...

the  scouts,  both boy and

a new parade entry and perhaps a sign of the times, 
the local food pantry...

 The local fire department brought up the end of the parade and even had some leftover tootsie rolls for us old folk. 
Once the streets reopened, we made our way down Main St. Stoddard to listen to the fun music of Pigtown Fling, a group I've heard of but always missed. We couldn't stay long but we definitely enjoyed their tunes.
Then, it was on to town (La Crosse) to the memorial service to honor and remember those in the military who have served our country and are no longer with us. Union militia reenactors ended the short service in the Jewish Cemetery with a 3 gun salute followed by taps. It is always very moving.

The black bottom clouds and forecasted rain discouraged our possible picnic so we grabbed lunch downtown before our return home.  We were lucky to catch another musical group the Bus Boys as they were finishing their gig in Stoddard but those big rain drops started to fall and made them take cover. Electrified musicians don't need to risk their lives, right?  The rainfall was short lived. It was mighty kind of Hood Scoops to provide both groups as entertainment.

Sunlight was on our side and Natureman got in some more weeding here in the End of the Rainbow Valley and I finished my book in time for book club. 

A perfect Memorial Day even without the bar b que. Hope yours was memorable. 

Monday, May 29, 2017


My Dad who'll be 92 this Aug. served in WWII.

Memorial Day is a day filled with parades, speeches, family time, cook outs and cemetery visits. This holiday is to remember and be thankful for all those who have served and those who continue to serve for all their sacrifices being in our country's military service. To all these men and women and their families we say:

                                          "Thank You."

An interesting link from the New York Times:
Forgetting Why We Remember

Friday, May 26, 2017


FOTO FRIDAY:  Teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) sometimes provides  difficulty especially explaining idioms/ idiomatic phrases we use all the time in our daily speech. Then, there are those idioms that seem pretty self explanatory.  Such is the case I think for this week's FOTO FRIDAY.

Can you guess this week's idiom for my class from the photo below?

A bird's eye view...
Do you have any photos you can share using this idiom/phrase/ a different one? I will add the caption to this photo by the end of the day.

Here are the responses:

Colleen:  No thing comes to mind, I guess I'm such a bird brain.

Sara: A bird in hand is worth 2 in the Bush? 

Judi : Sparrow in a treetop? I realize it's not a sparrow but husband Ralph always sings that song.

Jennifer:  As the crow flies...

Charysse added:" I always wanted to have a dress like an idiom costume party for kids to take the place of the Halloween type events. Still might. :)"

Click on the link if you missed last week's FOTO FRIDAY : NEW KID VISITORS

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Sometimes it is the unexpected that can certainly brighten an otherwise gloomy day. AND I can attest we have had some really gloomy days and I am not just referring to politics either. The weather has been referred to as drizzly, rainy, wet, dismal and yes,  gloomy. People are saying they have forgotten what the sun looks like, no kidding. 

Yet, yesterday the clouds literally allowed a little peek of blue skies and brightness. You see, on that social media of FaceBook in the message section from a local acquaintance I met through an art show arrived a message which read " This reminds me of you, want it?" accompanied by a photo of what appeared to be a woven basket.  Come to find out, it was purchased about 20 years ago at an art fair and its owner wanted to find it a new home.

I have added a lamp as suggested and must admit, both the gesture and visit made my day ever so bright.  It creates the coolest shadows and goes perfectly, don't you think?

Isn't it amazing how an unexpected gesture of kindness can add so much light?
                                          Thanks, Laurel! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Good to the Last Drop

That's it on the far left... Sriracha
I don't know about you but there's one condiment that has become part of our refrigerator door and although it is used regularly whether to kick up any dish like one of our homemade canned soups/ add to mayo for a sushi/veggie dip, it seems to last forever. When I noticed our bottle getting low, I made sure its replacement was awaiting in the cupboards. What condiment I am talking about is Sriracha, a Thai hot chili sauce consisting of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. 

Last week Natureman decided to add some water to what was remaining in our old bottle and add it to our End of the Year Garden Soup. Whoa, my lips were still burning after the meal. But is there such a thing as a good burn? Luckily, he had toasted a piece of bread to accompany it and I was going to add a dollop of sour cream to my bowl anyway. You can tell our household thinks Sriracha is good to the last drop.

You may have even tried it unknowingly and just couldn't figure out what it was unless you don't care for spicy hot. Last night the new bottle was opened and I tried a new marinade for fish. 
A definite two thumbs up. 
Don't worry you can adjust the amount of Sriracha...

Here's what you will need:

Sauce pan for to make fish marinade 
Baking pan
Sheet of aluminum foil
Cooking spray

Fish 3-4 pieces (Salmon/Wall eye, we had the latter ...) 

2 T melted butter
1/3 c honey
1/3 c Sriracha
1 T minced garlic
2T soy sauce
2 limes (juice one, slice thinly second)
2 T fresh chopped cilantro to sprinkle atop cooked fish.

Line cooking pan with foil.
Spray foil with oil
Place lime slices of one lime down,
Salt and pepper fish both sides
Place fish atop lime slices
Crunch foil like a boat around fish to contain sauce. (prevents messy clean up)

Sauce: Bring to boil butter, honey, sriracha, garlic, soy sauce and lime juice. Brush sauce all over fish. Coat completely.
Save remaining sauce to add later if desired.

Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. 
Broil just enough for ends to curl (3-4min)
Serve after sprinkling on some cilantro.

It's pretty and Deeeelish.  

Thanks pinterest for another yummy recipe:  Honey Sriracha Fish.

3 Older posts  with Sriracha:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


After another miserable cold rainy day what could be better than going to listen to some good music at the Driftless Book Store in Viroqua? 

Johanna Rose and Carl Nichols of Nickel & Rose
Nickel & Rose from Milwaukee  opened. This talented charming duo just returned from 4 months of an European tour through 9 countries (mostly Eastern) and a lot of performances. Their banter shared experiences and inspiration of their song writing.   

Their evening's first song was the powerful spiritual "Ain't Going to Let Nobody Turn Me Around" which they sung while in Romania during the protests this winter to a crowd of some 50,000. Wowser. The very thought gave me goose bumps. 

Johanna, a traditional bluegrass bassist has found a comfortable harmonic vocal fit with guitarist Carl Nichols. Although they profess to really not play blues, there's definitely a spiritual flavor and Carl's music studies's presence of  Southwestern African melodies is ever present.  He said there wasn't a market for his African music but he has found a way to incorporate it. I heard some Flamenco runs in there too.

After a brief intermission and time to browse the books/ get a snack/drink, Chris Koza, out of the Twin Cities shared his music. 
Besides solo gigs, he's part of the band Rogue Valley, and actually in rehearsal for a play from which we got to hear a solo.  In addition we got to hear his song Wolves and the Ravens in the sound track of Ben Stiller's movie 'The Secret World of Walter Mitty.' Chris is a seasoned performer with a soothing voice and sweet audience rapport. 

Below is a snippit from our evening...

No matter when, do be sure and go listen to your local talent. You will be doing yourself a favor.

Thanks to youtube for Nickel and Rose's rendition of Ain't Going to Let Nobody Turn Me Around

Former Driftless Posts: Click on...

Monday, May 22, 2017


Westby, a 20 minute drive down the road remembers its roots as it celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day with music, history and food. As Norwegian settlers brought their Lutheran religion, foods (like lefse, rommegrot and lefapolsa) and crafts (ie rosemaling) and culture to this little Coulee town, participants can enjoy all of these during the weekend celebration. 

 Even a blustery 50 degree day with dark clouds couldn't dampen spirits Sunday. We had to deny it was spring and pull back out the fleece, layer and bundle up.  Chilly indeed making last week's 80 degree days a memory. 

Besides Syttende Mai Royalty and Parade Marshalls,

Festival Royalty come from all over the region to have a float in the parade with townsfolk either in the parade/spectators awaiting the thrown candies.

Our town's Snowtrail Days

Cashton Fall Days

Houston Hoedown Days

Warren Cranberry Festival

La Crescent Apple Festival

La Crosse's Oktoberfest

Of course, The Sons (and Daughters) of Norway...


All sorts of characters to give candies to the spectators...

 We were there really to see family,  the littles...
 Abby with Grandma Denise far l and Mom Jolene,in green

Kylie (center) riding the Reading Library float
 and bonus granddaughter Haley marching in her highschool band

Despite the nasty cold, all had a good time and we returned to the kids's warm home to celebrate our very own Princess Abby's 6th birthday.

And as they say in Westby til next Syttende Mai 

"Mange takk min ven, ha en behagelid reise."Many thanks my friend, have a pleasant journey."